Why The Left Must Criticize Linda Sarsour

Why The Left Must Criticize Linda Sarsour

Recent statements by Sarsour have shown she shouldn't be hailed as a progressive hero.

Linda Sarsour has become a popular name in progressive politics as of late, as she was one of the co-founders and organizers behind the Women's March, undoubtedly one of the most important protests in recent American memory. While this is a worthy cause to support, some of Sarsour's recent statements should cause us to step back before we idolize her as a progressive figure. She has taken inflammatory positions regarding critiques of Islam, as well as attacking journalists for pointing out offensive and inconsistent tweets. I'm not here to demonize her as a person or mis-characterize her views, but I do think fellow liberals need to let down their knee-jerk defense and evaluate her behavior rationally.

2017 has been a year of political ups, downs, conflicts, protests, and scandals. One of the most prominent moments occurred just after the inauguration of President Trump. The day after the inauguration, millions across the US took to the streets to protest the President’s remarks towards women as well as what they stated were anti-women policies; this mass gathering was organized as the Women’s March. The model of the Women’s March became the template upon which most of the future protests in the Trump era, like the travel ban protests and the Science March. One of the co-founders and organizers of this event was Linda Sarsour, and the ground-breaking protest propelled her onto the national stage.

She was quickly embraced by many figures on the left, including Bernie Sanders. She championed many anti-Trump causes while also speaking out on her most passionate issue, the Palestinian people. Many on the left regard her as a champion of feminism and progressive issues, but as with many other figures who have come to national prominence; being on the national stage comes with national scrutiny.

This all came to a head last week when the Women’s March Twitter account posted a tweet honoring the birthday of Assata Shakur. Shakur, for those who don’t know, was convicted in 1977 as an accomplice in the murder. of New Jersey State Patrol Officer Werner Foerster. Foester had pulled over Shakur, who was in the car with a few others, on the New Jersey Turnpike; this quickly ended in an exchange of gunfire where Foerster was killed. Shakur and the trooper accompanying Foerster were injured. New Jersey law stated that an accomplice to a murder can be tried and convicted with an equal charge and sentence to the actual killers themselves, and Shakur was subsequently sentenced to life in prison. In 1984, however, she escaped and fled to Cuba where she was given asylum. She remains on the FBI’s most wanted list.

Clearly the fact that the Women’s March account would choose to honor this person was shocking, and many people, including journalists like Jake Tapper and Joe Scarborough called the account out for it. Even people who ardently supported the Women’s March seemed dismayed that this movement would choose to honor a convicted cop-killer.

But the Women’s March account doubled-down and, while tepidly saying that they didn’t agree with her “tactics”, they went on to praise her for her anti-racism work, which is absurd; the reason people know her name is because of the crime she committed. Sarsour, on her personal account, went a step further and accused Jake Tapper of joining the alt-right in mocking her. Anyone who’s ever watched Tapper knows that this is a nonsensical accusation.

And this isn’t the first time she’s made inflammatory statements. In reference to Ayaan Hirsi Al (and Brigitte Gabriel), an ex-Muslim who grew up in Somalia and regularly speaks on the violent aspects of Islamic fundamentalism, Sarsour wished she could “take their vaginas away” (referring also to Brigitte Gabriel); which is a stunning thing to say given that Ali had suffered female genital mutilation in her home country.

While her opinions on Israel and the Palestinian conflict are controversial, I will leave those off since there are legitimate disagreements on both sides. But just by these statements alone, I believe fellow liberals should rethink their support for her or at least demand that she apologize for and retract her statements.

Look, we need figures in America who serve as positive symbols for Muslim-Americans, especially in light of some of President Trump's harsh policies. In fairness to Sarsour, she has certainly given a voice to many Muslims and other groups across America, thanks to the Women's March. But blindly defending her comments as a knee-jerk reaction against conservatives despite some of her statements is extremely damaging to the progressive cause. And given the dire straits we are in with the Trump administration, we absolutely cannot afford that.

Cover Image Credit: Glamour

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'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Is NOT About Date Rape, It's A Fight Against Social Norms Of The 1940s

The popular Christmas song shouldn't be considered inappropriate.


The classic Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has recently come under attack. There has been controversy over the song being deemed as inappropriate since it has been suggested that it promotes date rape. Others believe that the song is another common example of our culture's promotion of rape. You may be wondering, where did they get that idea from?

The controversy has led to one radio station, WDOK, taking the song off the air and banning it from their station. Some people believe that this song goes against the #MeToo movement since it promotes rape. However, people are not considering the fact that this traditional Christmas song was made in the 1940s.

People are viewing the song from a modern-day cultural perspective rather than from the perspective of the 1940s. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was written in 1944. Many people have viewed the song from the perspective of our cultural and social norms. People believe that the song promotes date rape because of lyrics that suggest that the male singing is trying to stop the female singer from leaving, and the female singer is constantly singing about trying to escape with verses like "I really can't stay" or "I've got to go home."

When you first view the song from the perspective of today's culture, you may jump to the conclusion that the song is part of the date rape culture. And it's very easy to jump to this conclusion, especially when you are viewing only one line from the song. We're used to women being given more freedom. In our society, women can have jobs, marry and be independent. However, what everyone seems to forget is that women did not always have this freedom.

In 1944, one of the social norms was that women had curfews and were not allowed to be in the same house as a man at a later time. It was considered a scandal if a single woman so much as stayed at another man's house, let alone be in the same room together. It's mind-blowing, right? You can imagine that this song was probably considered very provocative for the time period.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is not a song that encourages date rape, but is actually challenging the social norms of society during the time period. When you listen to the song, you notice that at one part of the song, the female states, "At least I can say that I tried," which suggests that she really doesn't want to leave. In fact, most of the song, she is going back and forth the whole time about leaving stating, "I ought to say no…well maybe just a half a drink more," and other phrases.

She doesn't want to leave but doesn't really have a choice due to fear of causing a scandal, which would have consequences with how others will treat her. It was not like today's society where nobody cares how late someone stays at another man's house. Nowadays, we could care less if we heard that our single neighbor stayed over a single man's house after 7. We especially don't try to look through our curtain to check on our neighbor. Well, maybe some of us do. But back then, people did care about where women were and what they were doing.

The female singer also says in the lyrics, "The neighbors might think," and, "There's bound to be talk tomorrow," meaning she's scared of how others might perceive her for staying with him. She even says, "My sister will be suspicious," and, "My brother will be there at the door," again stating that she's worried that her family will find out and she will face repercussions for her actions. Yes, she is a grown woman, but that doesn't mean that she won't be treated negatively by others for going against the social norms of the time period.

Then why did the male singer keep pressuring her in the song? This is again because the song is more about challenging the social norms of the time period. Both the female and male singers in the song are trying to find excuses to stay and not leave.

On top of that, when you watch the video of the scene in which the song was originally viewed, you notice that the genders suddenly switch for another two characters, and now it's a female singer singing the male singer's part and vice versa. You also notice that the whole time, both characters are attracted to one another and trying to find a way to stay over longer.

Yes, I know you're thinking it doesn't matter about the genders. But, the song is again consensual for both couples. The woman, in the beginning, wants to stay but knows what will await if she doesn't leave. The male singer meanwhile is trying to convince her to forget about the rules for the time period and break them.

In addition, the complaint regarding the lyric "What's in this drink?" is misguided. What a lot of people don't understand is that back in 1944, this was a common saying. If you look at the lyrics of the song, you notice that the woman who is singing is trying to blame the alcoholic drink for causing her to want to stay longer instead of leaving early. It has nothing to do with her supposed fear that he may have tried to give her too much to drink in order to date rape her. Rather, she is trying to find something to blame for her wanting to commit a scandal.

As you can see, when you view the song from the cultural perspective of the 1940s, you realize that the song could be said to fight against the social norms of that decade. It is a song that challenges the social constrictions against women during the time period. You could even say that it's an example of women's rights, if you wanted to really start an argument.

Yes, I will admit that there were movies and songs made back in the time period that were part of the culture of date rape. However, this song is not the case. It has a historical context that cannot be viewed from today's perspective.

The #MeToo movement is an important movement that has led to so many changes in our society today. However, this is not the right song to use as an example of the date rape culture.

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To Donald Trump: Thank U, Next

Look what you taught us.


What Donald Trump taught me is that it is not essential for the president to care about his country. Con-artistry goes a long way when communicating with people who are tired of the same political jargon.

His simple-minded but outlandish promises convinced people significant change was coming. Donald Trump taught me that never again do I want a president to be thought of as "one of us."

Instead, I want someone smart, ethical and who has taken a basic civics course — someone who will take care of minorities and make those in dire situations a priority instead of stock market prices.

I want a president that doesn't brag about sexually assaulting women. I want a president that doesn't go on social media and blame homicide victims for not being armed. I want a president that doesn't complain about money when people are dying and losing their homes in a massive fire.

However, with that being said, I also want to give thanks to Trump. Because of him, the next generation sees how crucial it is to get out and vote. Most of your elders probably never spoke to an LGBTQ person, but you and your siblings grew up with LGBTQ friends, and you would never want them to be treated any lesser than you. You grew up with women dominating television. You grew up under the leadership of an African American president. You grew up in a world that was changing.

Some people don't like change, but you are the future, and it is your decision what you want that future to be. So thank you Donald Trump, for being the last big push Americans needed to completely change a world that was once dominated by violence and hate crimes. However, I think most of us can agree we are ready for what's coming next.

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